Parole officer hadn't returned to work after a leave, prompting the welfare check that led to her death
CANANDAIGUA — A handgun issued to New York State Parole Officer Sandy Guardiola fired at least one round Wednesday in an exchange of gunfire with a Canandaigua city police officer inside her Pinnacle North apartment, police revealed Friday.
She was later pronounced dead at Thompson Hospital.
Preliminary autopsy results, announced by state police during an afternoon press conference, show Guardiola died as the result of a gunshot. Police would not say how many shots had been fired or how many times she was hit.
State Police Major Rick Allen said Guardiola, 48, was in her bedroom when a Canandaigua police officer entered the apartment at Pinnacle North about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. He said she was alone in the apartment.
The name of the Canandaigua police officer who shot Guardiola is still not being released. He was not injured in the exchange.
“We're not releasing the name of the police officer,” Allen said. “That's up to the chief if he wants to release that.”
Canandaigua City Police Chief Stephen Hedworth said the officer's name will not be released at this time and would not say when it would be released.
He said the police officer had gone to Pinnacle North to check on the well-being of an off-duty parole officer at the request of the Division of Parole, now the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
“She didn't show up for work that day,” said Allen. “That's why parole became concerned. They wanted her welfare checked upon.”
He said Guardiola had suffered some injuries in a car accident a few weeks ago in the Southern Tier, had been out of work and was due to return to work that morning.
Allen said it will be several months before final autopsy results are available and police can make definitive conclusions and final findings.
Capt. Carolyn Mullin said toxicology test results could take up to six months. She said most of Guardiola's family is downstate.
“They're grieving,” said Ontario County First Assistant District Attorney Jim Ritts. “They're coming to grips with it and navigating the loss of their mother, their sister, their loved one. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, with law enforcement and with parole. This is tragic.”
Hedworth said police first tried to contact Guardiola, but did not get a response. Due to the level of concern, the police officer was given access to the apartment by Pinnacle North staff about 4:30 p.m. and two minutes later radioed 911 that shots had been fired.
“It's every officer's nightmare,” Hedworth said. “I think a lot of time people tend to forget these are people that just wear uniforms. They're no different than anybody else. The have all the same feelings, emotions, stresses that everybody else has. The officer is shaken by it, coupled with the fact this was somebody that was shot that is in law enforcement and the law enforcement family, so it has an impact.
“My heart goes out to him. My heart goes out to Sandy's family. I can't imagine what they're going through right now and the Canandaigua community grieves for them. All we can do at this point is support everybody that's involved."
Guardiola, who came to western New York about a year ago from New York City, had been with the parole division since May 2015, assigned to the Western Region.
Allen said there are several steps left in the investigation, including interviews with several people and a review of forensics test results once received from laboratories.
“Once we have everything we need, we'll put a report together,” he said.
Hedworth said the police officer involved in the shooting will remain on paid administrative leave for the time being, pending receipt of reports from state police and district attorney's office. He said the department will conduct its own internal investigation upon completion of the criminal investigation.